I love you. The first time I remember seeing you, you were being interviewed on a late-night comedy show. Not knowing who you were, I told my well-informed husband, “This guy is really funny.”
My husband, who was playing with Legos (which he calls “a sophisticated interlocking artistic medium”), walked over to look at the TV and said, “That’s Martin Short. He’s a comedic genius.” On TV, you were promoting your memoir entitled “I Must Say.” Since I was between comedic memoirs at that time I said, “I want his book.” My very kind husband who is especially attuned to comic genius bought it for me right away.
The first thing I did when I got your book was read the end, to find out if you stayed married to your wife. I was in the mood to read a book about a marriage that stayed together. There are so many that don’t work out that way. I had two books to read and I read yours first solely because your marriage intrigued me.
After reading the whole book, my favorite part about your memoir was not about your marriage, but about your childhood. All of your crazy, brilliant antics were conceived in you way back then. It’s like your whole childhood is a bottomless well of raw comedic inspiration. At the root of that inspiration is your dad. Your Irish Catholic, tell it like it is, no apologies, dad. I am thankful that you helped me to get to know him. He’s the type of guy that can say, “You know, dear, back in county Armagh, where my people are from, we have a name for someone who is half Irish and half Jewish. We call that person . . . a Jew.” How Trumpesque. I love every part of your book about your Dad. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jewish people (especially Lewis Black). But I also love your Dad. He sounds like he’d be a riot on Thanksgiving.
As anyone might expect (and hope) a good chunk of your story revolves around your times hanging out with celebrities like Gilda Radner, Steve Martin, and Tom Hanks. Since I had never heard of you before that late-night interview, I was surprised with how many celebrities you know! It must be cool to know so many famous people. I’m sure people frequently walk up to you and ask you what Steve Martin is like. Since we all know that everything celebrities do is absolutely fascinating, that section of your book was especially fun. I love all of your friends. Maybe one day I’ll write them a letter.
Even though everything that I’ve already mentioned is super fun, those fun parts are not the parts that I consider the most valuable. In addition to your many funny, fascinating stories, the little morsels from your memoir that my mind processes over and over again are the mysterious parts. Near the end of your book you relay the story of your wife’s battle with cancer. After she dies you ask her one simple question, “Where’d you go?”
That is a question that we all want the answer to. The simple answer is (drumroll please)…to heaven. Now, I know there are lots of people who want to qualify that statement, but as a Christian, heaven is where I believe we are designed to go. It’s our true home. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). And yet, even for those of us who believe Jesus whole heartedly, we don’t know what he is talking about. Jesus’ own disciples didn’t understand what he was saying. His disciple Thomas admitted his confusion openly, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going” (John 14:5). The only reassuring thing about that is that at least we know we are not alone in our confusion.
The other part of your book that intrigues me relates to the same issue. Early in your memoir you tell of your older brother David’s untimely death. After your brother’s funeral, you knew that you would never see him again. And yet, that very night you saw him in a dream. You describe it as “a bright technicolor dream”. He said to you, “Everything’s fine. It won’t be long before we see each other again. I’ll see you in a fleeting moment.”
I’ve lost many loved ones (one might say, “a plethora of loved ones”) and I’ve seen some of them afterwards, appearing young and healthy. Like you, I saw them in dreams that make this life look like a foggy morning in London. It is comforting and reassuring to know that other people have had similar experiences. Thank you for sharing your life with me. Your story is as amazing and amusing as you are. I’m happy to say I now know who you are, Martin Short. My husband was right. You’re a comedic genius. A deep, thoughtful, inspiring, comedic genius. Thank you for doing what you do. Making people laugh is a special calling, to bring people just a fraction of the joy that is to come…in a fleeting moment.